Healthcare advocates urge uninsured U.P. residents to enroll in program (with brochure)

Adelle Whitefoot

A group of health care advocates urged uninsured locals to consider enrolling in Health Insurance Program (HIP) for Michigan Monday morning at a press conference.

HIP Michigan is a federally sponsored program that offers affordable health care for Michigan residents that have been denied coverage due to a pre-existing conditions and have not had coverage for six months. All ages are eligible for HIP Michigan that meet the requirements, said Scott Wilkerson, president and CEO of Physicians Health Plan.

“College students definitely have access to this program,” Wilkerson said. “Based on the changes in eligibility, all they really need is to not have had insurance in the last six months and some type of ongoing condition.”
A pre-existing or ongoing condition is a condition, disability or illness, either physical or mental, that someone had before enrolling in a health plan. Any diagnosis listed on the eligible pre-existing conditions page on the website may be considered a pre-existing condition by an insurer, and if a person has been denied coverage for another health reason, it is considered a pre-existing condition.

“The rates are quite affordable, but, of course, with college students, affordability is all in the state of mind of the holder,” Wilkerson said.

Prices for the plans for those ages 17 to 24 range from $103.85 to $181.60 a month depending on the coverage. There are three plans available that have varying coverage and deductibles built for certain needs.

“If you look at the price of medical care you have people spending $100,000 on medical care, and it can be incredibly expensive,” Wilkerson said. “With the (HIP) plan students can pay as less as a little over $100 a month.”

HIP Michigan covers physician office visits, maternity care, preventive services like pap smears and immunizations, inpatient hospital service, emergency care, out patient hospital services, behavioral health services, prescription drugs and other services. The program covers both generic and brand name drugs. The copays are $10 for generic drugs and $30 or $50 for brand name drugs.

The program does have some exclusions to its coverage such as routine dental care, hearing aids, vision services, experimental procedures and chiropractic services.

“College students are just as susceptible to these diseases as anyone else,” Wilkerson said. “With this program they can avoid potential significant negative consequences in the future.”

For more information and to apply for the program, visit hipmichigan.org. The application process can take up to 30 days and coverage cannot begin until the first of each month.

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